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Bat Bots

February 2, 2017

Flying robots simulate the flight of bats.

Transcript

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Bat Bot’s silicone membrane “skin” stretches over a carbon fiber skeleton to form flexible wings. (Ramezani, Chung, Hutchinson, Science Robotics 2, 2017)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Flying bat bots. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Inspired by the powerful and agile flight of bats, engineers have designed a self-guided flying robot called “B2”, or Bat Bot. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign roboticist Alireza Ramezani and his team write in the journal Science Robotics that B2 mimics the complicated wings of bats, with highly articulated joints that allow it to maintain balance in the air. A thin, stretchable silicone skin covers this “skeleton”.

ALIREZA RAMEZANI (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign):

Elasticity is very important; when bats articulate their body, they need the skin to be flexible and provide effective aerodynamic surface. And that kind of makes B2 unique.

HIRSHON:

Ramezani says B2 and similar designs could be used for monitoring the safety of construction workers, search and rescue operations, and even package delivery. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard

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